Deep Blue Desaru.

You know, I really wanted to focus on yoga, fitness and wellness, and leave all the travel stories out of this blog. But the thing is, travel is good for our betterment. Here are a few benefits of travel in relation to our health and wellness:

  • Travel helps to improve our wellbeing, decrease our risk of heart attack and anxiety, while also developing our brain health;
  • Travel helps improve our communication and language skills – even in a single country like Malaysia, which is multi-lingual;
  • Travel helps to promote peace of mind and encourages positive feelings; and
  • Travel promotes creativity.

And these are but a few benefits travel has to our wellness.

So, this is a belated post to Eddy’s and my exploration of Desaru at the end of 2021.

Desaru vs. Port Dickson.

When I was a little boy, my extended family used to have holidays down in Port Dickson. It’s probably the most family-friendly beach close to Kuala Lumpur, and the variety of the type of beaches there (from white sands to pebbly brown beaches) probably was a plus.

My more privileged cousins usually deigned to join us, and headed down to Desaru. What is so special about Desaru, and sometimes I would ask my parents to take us there. It was always a “no”, because it was too far away and also … it was too expensive.

Desaru 2018
Desaru 2018

So in 2018 (pre-COVID), when we spent some time in Johore Bahru, Eddy and I drove over to Desaru – about an hour’s drive. We didn’t make any hotel bookings, even though we had planned to stay, but we didn’t in the end because at the time, we were really concerned about the cats.

When the end of 2021 came, and restrictions on travel were relaxing, I decided I needed to get to the beach, so off to Deasru we headed!

So… what’s the big deal?

Okay, so most Malaysians (and some travellers) know that the east coast of peninsula Malaysia has beautiful beaches. Most of the beaches there are miles ahead any of the beaches on the west coast (as far as I know).

The beaches at Desaru are beautiful, I have to say. Some are comparable to Cherating beach, and other beaches in Terengganu and also Pahang.

Desaru has been possibly more a favourite with Singaporeans than Malaysians. It’s about a two-hour drive from the island nation. The interesting thing about Desaru is that although it is a destination for tourism, there isn’t much there, aside from the hotels and resorts. The township is fairly small and new, with nothing much to offer, even in terms of food.

All activities is actually more dependent on yourself or on what your hotel / resort has to offer. Because it is so isolated (hours of drive from anywhere), you need to ensure you have all you need to entertain yourself with you.

Our Desaru in Dec 2021.

Eddy really sorted our travel arrangements this time round, for which I am super grateful. He managed to book us into Tiara Desaru, a mid-range resort which feels semi-new. It is very family-friendly, with a pool for each wing (three swimming pools in total).

It also has its own private beach, with an interesting stairs that leads to nowhere, a few deck chairs, and also two swings (that even adults can use! I love swings!).

There also was a rickety lifeguard’s hut that actually lent an artistic flair to the beach. I loved it, and you probably have seen a great number of yoga photos with this lifeguard hut in it, for example in the post below:

Tiara Desaru offered us a buffet breakfast, so that was one meal sorted. The rooms were housed in rows perpendicular to the beach, and from our balcony, we could both see and hear the beach.

We had been in lockdown for so long that as soon as we parked, I jumped out and just stood watching the sea and feeling the breeze and just absorbing the atmosphere. It was so refreshing.

The beach also made both Eddy and I inspired enough so that we both ended up being super productive. We were there in December, and I did content for my website and social media for three months (all the way up to March!).

What else is there?

To be honest, we don’t know. We aren’t hot on snorkelling or even jumping into the sea (I have a jellyfish phobia). We had to drive out for lunch and dinner, and even though we tried to be adventurous in terms of where to eat (aside from the actual hotels and resorts) but sadly many locations listed online were either shut or didn’t exist at all. Once, for lunch, we even drove two hours northbound, but no joy.

Eddy and I on the private beach outside Tiara Desaru.

So we ended up on the long row of shops on the main road, usually eating at the Chinese muslim eatery which had really good food. It was super popular though, so getting a table was challenging.

Honestly, aside from this – and also a poor wild boar which got hit (and killed) by a car – not much else happened, and there isn’t much else to do or see.


At first, I was considering doing a yoga retreat here, and that may still be in the works, but I am not 100% sure if I would choose Desaru. I also am not really rushing to head back for a holiday at Desaru.

Still, if you have never been there, go! It’s worth the experience.

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